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White House Issues Policy Directive on Cyber Coordination

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Wall Street trade groups are applauding the White House directive on cybersecurity, released Tuesday, as furthering the much-needed coordination between the government and the private sector in preventing cyberattacks.

The directive, issued by President Barack Obama, notes that “cyber incidents are a fact of contemporary life, and significant cyber incidents are occurring with increasing frequency, impacting public and private infrastructure located in the United States and abroad.”

While the directive notes that the “vast majority of cyber incidents can be handled through existing policies, certain cyber incidents that have significant impacts on an entity, our national security or the broader economy require a unique approach to response efforts.” These cyber incidents, Obama said, “demand unity of effort within the federal government and especially close coordination between the public and private sectors.”

Tom Price, managing director and head of the technology, operations and business continuity planning group at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, notes that financial services “continues to be a prime target for cyberattacks, and the industry remains vigilant in protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive information,” adding that SIFMA applauds “the ongoing efforts of the U.S. government to work with the private sector in this mission.”

Chris Feeney, president of BITS, the Financial Services Roundtable’s Cyber and Technology Policy division, adds that the White House cyber directive has “the potential to clarify roles and responsibilities while improving coordination before and during” a cyber incident.

“Ensuring the private sector and the government clearly understand roles and responsibilities in advance of a cyber incident is critical in ensuring consumers are protected,” Feeney said.

Besides defining the differences between a “cyber incident” and a “significant cyber incident,” the directive sets out how collaboration between the private sector and the government will be coordinated.

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